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China's Old, New Go on the Road

"The East Is Bright - The Chinese 20th Century Fine Arts Exhibition" at the Golden Gate Palace in Paris, starting on October 6, will signal the start of the 2003-04 Chinese Culture Year in France.

Developing from "Chinese Culture Week" to "Chinese Culture Season," the year-long event will involve more comprehensive activities around the theme of "Old China, colorful China and Modern China."

The rich content will include exchanges and activities from a variety of fields including literature, art, education, science, technology, sport, and ethnic culture.

"France and China are both countries of profound culture. Both of us have always maintained our cultural characteristics as well as preserving and promoting the world's multi-culturalism," said China's Culture Minister Sun Jiazheng.

The opening exhibition, "The East Is Bright," will be the largest to be held in Europe and will display the achievements of contemporary Chinese artists.

On display are more than 100 paintings by over 80 artists including pioneers of Chinese contemporary fine arts such as Xu Beihong (1895-1953), those from the mid-20th century such as Wu Zuoren (1908-96) and the latest generations such as Luo Zhongli, Chen Danqing and Liu Xiaodong.

Paris is acclaimed as the capital of European arts. In the first half of the last century, a good many Chinese artists went there to learn and undertake research on Western contemporary arts.

From an historical angle, these works display the development of Chinese contemporary arts from the period of learning from Western arts, to absorbing and blending them with Chinese paintings and more recently, developing Chinese arts from a traditional to a more modern style.

Accordingly, the exhibition consists of four parts: enlightenment and salvation, tradition and evolution, revolution and construction, and reality and expression.

Organizers hope the exhibition will be a chance for French people and other Europeans to enjoy colorful Chinese contemporary paintings, appreciate their cultural value and come to understand that they actually reflect Chinese social revolution and improvement.

Apart from the exhibition, the opening month will boast a rich variety of events.

On the opening evening, the Chinese Central Ensemble of Traditional Music will give the first concert of its French tour.

The China National Ballet will start its two-month tour at Lyon, performing its classic repertoire "The Red Detachment of Women" on October 8.

Then on October 13, an exhibition featuring the archaeological relics unearthed from the two sites of Sanxingdui and Jinsha, in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, will be held in Paris.

On the same day, the Chinese Fashion Designers' Association will organize a catwalk show entitled "Fashion China - Top Chinese Contemporary Designers' Work," at the Museum Louvre.

Wu Xuekai, Fang Ying, Wang Hongying, Gu Yi, Liang Zi and Luo Zheng, the six designers selected from the top 10 winners of the last 10 annual national fashion competitions, will show their 2004 spring/summer collections.

Ten super models selected from annual national modeling competitions over the past decade including Jiang Peilin, Li Juan, Feng Na and Zhang Te will join 10 European models on the T-stage.

The next day, Chinese models will also perform a show featuring traditional ethnic costumes at the Louvre.

(China Daily September 24, 2003)

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